by Lucie Godeau
Agence France Presse
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia on Thursday ordered 42 Rafale fighter jets from France, as Paris and Jakarta search to strengthen navy ties within the face of rising tensions within the Asia-Pacific.
The settlement was introduced as Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto met his French counterpart Florence Parly in Jakarta.
“It’s official, Indonesia orders 42 Rafale,” stated Parly on Twitter.
Subianto confirmed a deal had been struck for the acquisition of the jets, with a contract signed Thursday regarding the primary six.
It’s the newest signal of warming ties between Jakarta and Paris, as France rethinks its alliances within the area following the collapse in September of a multibillion-dollar Australian submarine deal.
Paris was left livid by the debacle, saying it had been given no warning that Canberra was negotiating a brand new defence pact with america and Britain.
Australia is now acquiring nuclear-powered submarines as a part of the brand new defence alliance, named AUKUS, which brings collectively Canberra, Washington and London to counter a rising China.
In November, France and Indonesia strengthened a strategic partnership settlement throughout a two-day go to by French Overseas Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to the huge Southeast Asian archipelago.
Indonesia’s first order for French warplanes comes as Jakarta replaces an ageing fleet — consisting primarily of American F-16s and Russian Sukhois — as considerations develop about rising US-China tensions in Asia.
– ‘Technical excellence’ –
In Jakarta, Parly advised reporters that Indonesia had chosen a warplane recognized for its “technical excellence”, which had demonstrated its “operational capabilities on quite a few events”.
Eric Trappier, CEO of producer Dassault Aviation, stated the contract “marks the beginning of a long-term partnership that may see Dassault Aviation quickly step up its presence within the nation.
“It additionally demonstrates the robust bond between Indonesia and France and reinforces the place of the world’s largest archipelago as a key energy on the worldwide stage.”
Indonesia is reportedly in negotiations to purchase about 30 American F-15s, and is taking part in a South Korean programme to develop a warplane.
Because the Australian submarine deal collapsed, France has been bolstering ties with long-time companions together with Japan and India, in addition to turning to Southeast Asian nations reminiscent of Indonesia.
Indonesia is one in all a number of Asian international locations that expressed considerations in regards to the AUKUS pact, with Overseas Minister Retno Marsudi warning it may set off a nuclear arms race within the area.
The Dassault Aviation Rafale plane, which entered service in 2004, has proved well-liked within the worldwide market regardless of competitors from American and different European producers.
The United Arab Emirates signed the most important ever order for the jets in December, with a deal to purchase 80 for 14 billion euros.
Different international purchasers embrace Qatar, India, Egypt, Greece and Croatia.
© Agence France-Presse